”After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”Acts 4:31
What brought about this event of their meeting place being shaken? It happened after they prayed! If prayer can be that earth shattering, why don’t we do more of it? And how can we get that kind of a result?
As I sat in church on Sunday listening to this sermon, I wondered where our pastor was going with this message. He was very passionate about this, so let’s take a look at the full passage to help us understand this better.
Peter and John have been released by the Sanhedrin after being threatened to talk about this ”Jesus” no more. They had just recently had preached about all that God had done through the crucifixion of Jesus and raising him through the dead. The miracles they had seen performed were not the acts of the disciples, but the one true God. They never took credit for healing the crippled beggar, but gave credit to God. After that, thousands of people were saved. The Sanhedrin knew that had to stop what they considered blasphemy, but the crowd of people were more than they wanted to deal with.
On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.Acts 4:23
Who are your people? Your tribe? Peter and John, it was the believers in Jesus Christ that gathered around them.
From my studies in psychology as I was getting my teaching degree, I know that belonging to something is a need that is innate in us. But how do we know if the people who claim to be ”our people” truly are ours? They may be counting you as one of their people.
It’s easy to join a church and let their doctrine guide our thoughts and theology come from the leadership of the church. But, that can become dangerous! Because of these types of divisions and a new ”religion” popping up throughout time, we have watered down and started feuds between denominations. We are fighting against each other. The answer? Prayer, but not the kind of prayer that asks for God to rescue us or make our lives easier.
”When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. ”Sovereign Lord,” they said, ”you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
”’Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.’”Acts 4:24-26
Noticed that they were praying the same thing to God together! Can you imagine what kind of power that prayer would have? One body of Christ praying together, but not just for one thing. Let’s look a little farther into the scripture…
“Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided before hand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”Acts 4:27-30
I know, there’s a lot there to unpack. They realized by now that it was God’s will by which Jesus was crucified. That was plan A all along. It had to happen for our sins to be forgiven and to be redeemed. We can see God’s plans throughout the Bible in both the old and new testaments. Nothing surprises Him!
Consider: What is God’s will according to his character? We can only know what his will and character are if we spend time in his presence and his word. (Through personal prayer time and studying the Bible.)
Enable: Through God’s word, and the power he gives us, we can boldly live the life that he has for us. Not the way we want to live it, but his way. They should see him through us!
Stretch out your hand: It is God’s hand that provides the healing and does the wondrous things that guide us.
If we pray like the Acts church, we can use this guide for our prayers: Pray for the will of God to come down to earth.
- Adoration: We begin by recognizing the greatness and majesty of God. His power and all that he’s done through creation.
- Confession: Confess our sins to him. He knows what they are, but we must acknowledge them and lay them at his feet.
- Thanksgiving: Bring to him specific things that we are thankful for. Admit that these things come from him.
- Supplications: Okay, now you can ask for the things you want or pray for others. This part comes last. Ask God to consider our hardships, not remove them. Sometimes those may be trials we must go through, but God has promised to always be with us, so he’ll help us through those times, but it may not be easy.
Do you find power to go boldly before others carrying God’s will with you? If you’re praying like the church in Acts 4, you will. I want to leave church every Sunday feeling this power and authority to go do God’s will. To bring his will down to earth! I want to see him in the midst of our church.
I think I get it now!
How do we do that? We pray like that! We can see God transform lives!
The Lion of Judah is not a tame lion, why should we want to be a tamed church? Be bold to carry God’s word forward!
I’ve given this blog post great thought and prayed for God’s inspiration in writing it. I hope you receive it in the same manner.